The Policy Monitoring and Research Centre (PMRC) has observed that the country needs to plan for the 2021 National Budget in such a way that it continues to shield the economy in an event that the negative effects of COVID-19 are still prevalent by next year.
PMRC Executive Director Bernadette Zulu said key sectors that have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic must be prioritized in the 2021 National Budget to spur economic recovery.
Mrs Zulu explained that there is an urgent need to factor in alternative financing in the 2021 national budget for infrastructure projects in the road, transport and infrastructure sectors especially the roads and airports that are currently being constructed.
In the statement availed to the media in Lusaka today, the PMR Executive Director pointed out that Zambia should begin to position itself by developing a National Continental Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) implementation plan that prepares the country for industries and businesses to participate effectively in the CFTA.
“Industrialization remains very critical and Zambia must review the performance of Industrial Yards and Multi-Facility Economic Zones to establish lessons that can be learnt and then set out a next phase of strategically developing industrial yards across the nations. PMRC also submits that the National Local Content Strategy should also be emphasized across all manufacturing lines,” the statement read in part.
On domestic resource mobilization, PMRC called for the government to accelerate the implementation of the Land Titling Programme, which will significantly contribute to the generation of Government revenues.
She was quick to state that government should provide an update on the operations of the development funds such as the Fisheries Development Fund, Youth Development Fund, Skills Development Fund and the Tourism Development Fund and the progress made towards achieving their intended goals as they are key in the implementation of government programmes.
In the Mining Sector, the policy think tank urged the government to put in place a fiscal regime that will attract the necessary investment, so that the mining sector can make a quick recovery as was the case in 2009.
To further enhance the agriculture sector, PMRC proposes that Government prioritizes upfront funding to the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) focusing on the Electronic-FISP as opposed to Direct Input Supply (DIS) as it is cost-effective.
Minister of Finance Dr Bwalya Ng’andu is tomorrow, September 25th expected to present the 2021 proposed national budget at the National Assembly.